A state police official announced on Sunday that Indian police had detained Sikh separatist Amritpal Singh after hunting for him for more than a month, in a move against the rebirth of an independent homeland in the bordering state of Punjab.
The emergence of Singh, a preacher in the northwestern province of Punjab, where Sikhs are the majority, has reignited talk of an independent Sikh homeland and fueled fears of a return to the violence that killed tens of thousands of people during a Sikh insurgency in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“Amritpal Singh has been arrested from Rode village in Moga district, Punjab, on the basis of specific intelligence,” Sukhchain Singh Gill, a top official with the Punjab police, told reporters.
Amritpal Singh, 30, who leads the Waris Punjab De (the heirs of Punjab) group, was arrested after he and hundreds of his supporters assaulted a police station with swords and pistols, demanding the release of one of his aides.
Singh and his supporters have been charged of attempted murder, obstructing law enforcement, and causing discord, and he has been on the run since mid-March, according to police.